Title: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
Author: Rachel Hartman
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Themes: Self-acceptance, Bravery, Romance, Love, Acceptance
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House for Young Readers
Seraphina has a secret that she must not share. It could lead to dire consequences. However, when a murder happens and a certain dragon is blamed, she takes it upon herself to find out the truth.
However, as all secrets, the ability to hide her own true nature is tested and it becomes that much more challenging to keep it buried.
This was a book that I’ve been meaning to read for a while now, so when a fellow online book lover wanted to read it, too, I jumped at the chance to give it a try.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is the world in which the story takes place. It’s a place where dragons and people live with each other and it feels very medieval like. There’s a certain darkness covering the town in which the characters live in, which seems very appropriate since there are two types of dragons that also reside there. There is also this inclusion of music that I absolutely love! Seraphina plays the flute, sings, and she is a Music Mistress (she helps with conducting and organizing music for events hosted by the royal family). It made me want to pick up my own flute again!
With this overarching setting, there is also another place where the story takes place. It is in Seraphina’s mind. In her mind, there is a garden of sorts that she tends to. Without giving too much away, it was one of my favorite places to visit throughout the story! I’m very curious to read more about the people that reside in her garden.
I also love the relationship between Seraphina and her uncle, Orma. Though we don’t get to spend as much time with them toward the end of the book, their bond is sweet and beautiful.
One of the down sides of the story is some of the abrupt bits of information the author shares about Seraphina’s life. For instance, it is revealed that Seraphina has family members other than her father toward the end of the book, but never before. Due to that, I had to read and re-read that section to make sure I was reading the text correctly. Though it’s great to give Seraphina more of a background since she is our protagonist, it also didn’t make sense to have these family members pop in and out the book so quickly. It didn’t add to the plot. In fact, it made the plot more choppy and takes the reader away from the more important plot points.
Another aspect of the book that I wish was a bit different was Seraphina’s non-involvement when it came to the climax of the story. Without given too much away, Seraphina watches a major fight happen rather than be apart of it. I’m not sure if I’ve read something like that before, but it felt odd and a little too much being on the sidelines. Because of this feeling, the sense of urgency during this climax fell a bit short.
Lastly, the relationship between Seraphina and a male lead is a little odd. Yes, it is easy to see how perhaps these two would be compatible with one another, however, since he is committed, it felt wrong to be rooting for Seraphina and this male lead to be anything more than friends. Of course, this a preference for the story being told and not really a criticism of the author’s storytelling, so it doesn’t affect my rating of the book in general.
Overall, this was a fun read even with a couple of plot bumps. I do plan on reading the second with the same fellow online book lover shortly.
I would recommend this read to those who enjoy young adult fantasy and about a young girl coming to terms with who she is.